Nature, fertility, growth, harmony, life, motherhood/parenthood, home, crops, earth, creation.
The Core Religion
The people of Veisea believe the goddess Naavah values love and creation above all else, and this is reflected in the ways she is worshiped and revered. Naavah is primarily represented as a divine feminine energy, expressed by humanity in symbolism that reflects the nature of that energy. The number three is considered a sacred, numerical manifestation of Naavah, representing not only the general shape and biology of a mother’s body (breasts and womb), but more importantly, the timelines and life cycles of nearly everything in existence: a human pregnancy lasts 9 months (or 3 sets of 3); birth, life, and death. For this reason, Naavah is symbolized in three-pronged physical shapes, like triangles, clover, etc. A manifestation of motherhood and care, Naavah’s other symbols include things that might represent life, or improve it: female animals and eggs, plants with healing properties, and the colors of spring and growth. Representations of or offerings to Naavah are placed on the north side of any altar, property, or place of worship in which they appear.
Offerings & Tithes
In warmer months, any associated herbs or flowers. In cooler months, salt, nuts, or seeds. Offerings of beer may be given in any season. Offerings should be made on the first Wednesday of each month in the dawn hours, or the full moon—whichever occurs first in the month. Offerings sit for the full month, or until Naavah either accepts them or they begin to rot. Offerings that are not accepted are to be buried on the north side of the property, and a small coin or stone replaces the offering for the remainder of the month as a placeholder until the new offering time arrives.
The Feast Day
Named Navadyn, Naavah’s feast day is March 21, the spring equinox. It is customary on this day to wear either white, light blue, or green. Many choose to paint plants, triangles, spirals, or other symbols on the hands, cheeks, and/or forehead, and wear ribbons of traditional colors in their hair. Celebrations and rituals include: the symbolic burial of seeds, nuts, or stones; bonfires (representing the sun & return of life to the valley); dancing, singing, and general frivolity. In times of plenty, a large feast is prepared; in times of scarcity, rye bread is baked and eaten symbolically. Celebrations begin in the dawn hours and last until midnight. Wheat or barley beer is consumed in large quantities. Ritual sex is not required, but is not uncommon, resulting in many January births.
The Cult of the Vale
The Cult of the Vale, or the Naavenah, is a collective of people who believe that Naavah is the wellspring of all creation—including the creation of the other gods and goddesses. The Naavenah view the valley (or vale) as the cradle of life—a representative womb in the otherwise bleak history of Veisea. Their temple is a north-facing building at the forest’s edge built entirely of dark gray stone with large, but simple windows, and the whole building is covered in an overgrowth of mosses and creeping vines. Inside, low benches of the same gray stone are covered in deep green pillows and throws, and at the front of the room is a large stone altar covered in white candles, upon which sits a large, silver bowl etched with the symbols of Naavah. Fresh offerings are deposited here each morning. Beneath the altar is a second, more crude stone bowl where donations of food items can be left, which will be distributed to the needy.
The Cult of the Vale believes that, like the earth, people must be free to do as they will. There is no concept of race, gender, sexuality, promiscuity, or indulgence that is considered taboo: Naavah is the patron of nature, and to act on nature is a pure and perfect thing, as to obey one’s nature is a holy act. There is no concept of sin, only harm. While nature contains violence and death, the Naavenah hold that only natural violence and death are acceptable (dying of old age, accidents, etc.), and all harm done intentionally to others is punishable in equal measure—murder results in death; pain in pain. However, the Naavenah is never the one to pass down the sentence: they simply expel any congregant who does harm, and alert the authorities, giving an account of what they believe the punishment for the crime should be.
All genders are represented among their members, but the Naavenah hold women and those able to give birth in highest esteem, and all officiants are either female or have a body capable of bearing children. Congregants (members) are referred to as “children,” and regardless of gender, officiants are symbolically referred to in respect to the divine feminine. They are appointed in three ranks: Maiden, Priestess, and Faun.
- MAIDENS are young people of childbearing ability and age who take a vow of servitude to Naavah. Maidens wear white gowns cinched with a sash and ribbons of a deep, crimson red. Their primary duties are to keep the altar candles burning at all times and make new candles, keep the temple clean and prepared for prayer or worship, make sure the offering bowl is changed out every morning, and diligently study the Naavenian Way—which includes not only the religious lore of Naavah herself, but also the mastery of herbology. Many Maidens serve Veisea as healers. Unlike the other branches of the Cult of the Vale, Maidens are allowed to marry, and are only required to wear their white gowns while performing their duties. Maidens may choose to remain in their station until they age out of it with their last menstrual cycle and are returned to congregants, or test into Priestesshood at any time in their study.
- PRIESTESSES are former Maidens of any age. When a Maiden becomes a Priestess, they retain their white gown, but exchange the crimson sash and ribbons for those of gold, if still of childbearing age, or silver if elderly—though unlike Maidens, they must remain in these gowns at all times. Priestesses often serve Veisea as healers, but they also perform religious rites and lead prayers and ceremonies such as weddings, funerals, and child dedications. Priestesses are renowned for their wisdom and charity, and work in the community as helpers and Samaritans. Priestesses never marry, and may serve until their death.
- The FAUN is a young person of childbearing age and ability who has been elevated from Maiden to Priestess, and who demonstrates superior spiritual awareness of and connection to the goddess Naavah. The Faun wears a white gown cinched with a sash and ribbons of deep, forest green, and the sleeve openings and hemline are embroidered with vines and Naavah symbols of the same dark green color.